Vernon Hargreaves joins other sons of coaches with Bucs
When Dirk Koetter was a college coach, he liked recruiting the sons of football coaches, knowing there was a familiarity and understanding of the sport and its demands most of the time. The son of a high school and college coach himself, Koetter liked that about first-round draft pick Vernon Hargreaves III, whose father Vernon Jr. has been a college assistant for more than 30 years.
"I'm biased in that respect, but that's something as a college coach I believed in," Koetter said Thursday night after the Bucs took Hargreaves with the No. 11 pick. "When we were recruiting guys in college, it seemed like coaches' sons always fared a little bit better in the football smarts department. We'll see if that's true. I haven't had the opportunity to meet Vernon's dad, but some of our coaches have and speak very highly."
Bucs GM Jason Licht said he's known Hargreaves Jr. for about 18 years, from his days as linebackers coach at Miami from 1998-2005.
"I think it's very important," Licht said of the "coach's son" aspect of a player. "I've known his dad for 18 years maybe, all the way back to when he worked for the Hurricanes. Great family, just a solid foundation ... Coming up through a football family, I think it's very important. We want football guys, and we got one."
The elder Hargreaves, who was with his son in Chicago for the draft to celebrate with his family, said he "absolutely" knew Licht well from his scouting days, and he also got to know Bucs secondary coach Jon Hoke when he was a Texans assistant and Hargreaves had an internship with the team a decade ago.
Hargreaves coached at USF from 2010-12 and that time made Tampa feel like home for his son -- Hargreaves coached at Houston in 2013-14 and last season at Arkansas, but the rest of the family has stayed in Tampa. Their youngest, Chanelle, is a high school senior headed to Florida, where she'll play volleyball this fall, so the plan had been for mother Jackie to help their son settle into his new city, then move to Arkansas to be with her husband this fall. Now, he might lose her to Tampa for a little longer.
"I'm out of luck. I have a pretty good idea she's going to be in Tampa," he said.